9 Things You Didn't Know About the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500
Today, I drove Ford's 200-mph miracle Mustang. I can't say much, but here's a peek.
Have you ever heard the word "embargo" as it relates to a new car? Until I entered this business, I hadn't. As you may know, many carmakers invite journalists to drive and review their new models before those cars officially go on sale to the public. These drives usually take place at organized launch events -- a racetrack, a country road, an auto show and so on.
In an attempt to regulate the flow of information about a given model, a lot of manufacturers enter into an embargo agreement with the journalists who drive their cars. In exchange for getting early access to a vehicle, journalists will agree to hold publication of their review or driving impressions until a certain date.
I mention this for a reason. Today, I drove the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 -- a 662-horsepower, 200-mph supercharged Mustang -- at a press event at Road Atlanta. Like everyone else at the event, I agreed to not publish my thoughts on the car's performance until Monday morning. That said, I also sat through an engineering presentation on the car and had a chance to discuss its capabilities with the engineers who designed it.
I can't talk about what the GT500 is like to drive, but I can share a few cool facts about it. Some of what I learned is below the jump.
1. It shares at least one part with the Ford GT supercar. The GT500's camshafts are the exact same profile -- same intake and exhaust lift, same duration -- as the ones used on the Ford GT. Yes, the supercar. This one. How cool is that? The goal was linear, approachable grunt and a torque curve flatter than Ayers Rock. I can't say if Ford's engineers achieved this -- at least, not yet -- but I will say one thing: The GT was a hell of a thing. Its camshafts are welcome.
2. Its driveshaft is made of carbon fiber. You have probably heard this. If you are the thinking type, you probably assumed that Ford engineers made this choice for a reason: Carbon fiber is light and strong, and performance cars are usually made of light, strong stuff. But here's a cool bit of trivia: The 2013 GT500's shaft is 14.4 pounds lighter than the metal shaft used in the last GT500, and it offers a 36 percent greater torque capacity. But chiefly, it's rated for high-speed duty and sports a critical speed well above the rpm it would be turning at the GT500's 200-mph top speed. According to Ford engineers, the old car's metal shaft went into resonance between 150 and 200 mph.
3. If you activate the GT500's standard launch control, a traditional drag-racing "Christmas tree" appears in the instrument cluster's LCD screen. It looks like a stoplight and gives you a trigger for when to let the car loose during a launch.
4. Ford estimates that the GT500 will sprint from zero to 60 mph in about 3.7 seconds. For reference, the 444-horsepower Mustang Boss 302 will do the same in around four seconds flat.
5. It uses two fuel pumps. Sound boring? It's not. Here's how much juice this thing is sucking: Those fuel pumps are identical to the unit found in the current 5.0-liter 420-horsepower Mustang GT. Only the 5.0-liter just needs one pump, not two.
6. Its speedometer goes to 220 mph. This is not a huge thing -- it's just a graphic on a gauge. But if Ford is to be believed, the GT500's top speed is an honest 200 mph. It is achieved in fifth gear, not sixth. Sixth is tall enough that it's really only for highway fuel economy -- 80 mph is roughly 1600 rpm.
7. If you do the math, third gear should be good for around 140 mph. That is all. I can't give specifics, because that would amount to a driving impression. But do the math. Seriously. 140 mph? Math is awesome.
8. A Torsen limited-slip and Bilstein electronically adjustable shocks are optional. Brands are fun. These are brands everyone knows, and they are available in the GT500's Performance Package. I like this.
9. In person, away from the harsh light of an auto-show stand, the GT500 looks amazing. Cartoonish, but in a good way. Also, the gaping hole in the car's nose -- it serves as a grille and air intake -- looks like the maw of a jet engine. You walk by it, you feel like you'll fall in.
Yea it sucks Carroll Shelby can't sign these mustangs. R.I.P. But this is still a bad a$$ car. Great job Ford.
Get over it people. FORD is NOT what it used to be. THIS IS A BAD **** CAR!
YES GORDINOK IT IS A FORD. AN AMERICAN OWNED COMPANY THAT USED THEIR OWN MONEY AND NOT MY TAX DOLLARS TO BUILD! MOST OF THESE COMMENTS SEEM TO BE GLAD IT IS JUST A FORD.
Use to own a mach 1 back in the 70's, wish I had the money to own this bad mother.....
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